Big Blue plans to begin shipping the 64-bit-capable machine, called IntelliStation A Pro, in May. Workstations are high-end desktops used for financial modeling and computer animation.
IBM believes that the AMD chip provides a mix of good capabilities and price for companies that wish to use 64-bit CAD (computer aided design) or engineering analysis software to create products, said Bob Lenard, director of IBM's IntelliStation products. The company first discussedlast year.
Thecan run 32-bit software--the kind found on most desktops today--or 64-bit software, which until now has been found mainly on high-end Unix machines. One of the main advantages of stepping up to 64 bits is that it allows a computer to use more than 4GB of RAM (random access memory), the current limit on 32-bit machines.
"One of the things we'd been looking at was a, especially in the...Windows and Linux space," Lenard said.
Some computer-generated product models, for example, use up 4GB of memory when shown in their entirety. Thus, the step up to the IntelliStation A Pro and 16GB of RAM makes sense, he said.
IBM felt that there would be sizable demand for the IntelliStation A Pro from customers who use the Unix operating system and wish to migrate to cheaper Linux hardware as well as those who seek to step up from inexpensive 32-bit hardware to more capable 64-bit gear.
The price of the IntelliStation A Pro will start at about $2,600. However, customers are likely to order versions of the machine that cost between $5,000 and $8,000, after adding large amounts of memory, extra hard drive capacity and high-performance graphics cards, Lenard said.
Customers can order the machine with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system or a 64-bit version of Red Hat's Linux operating system. A 64-bit version of Windows for Opteron is still in the works, so Windows customers must start off with 32 bits and upgrade later. A 64-bit version of Windows XP for Opteron is expected later this year.
Fujitsu-Siemensin Europe. Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems both have chip in servers. IBM also offers the Opteron in a server.
The company will sell the Opteron IntelliStation A Pro alongside its Intel-based IntelliStations, the M Pro and IntelliStation Z Pro. It also plans to offer workstations with Intel's forthcoming 64-bit Xeon chips.